Everyday in Vietnam 32 children drown. Research shows that drowning is the leading killer of children over the age of one in Vietnam. With the aim of reducing these horrifying statistics, The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC) has collaborated with the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia (RLSSA) to develop and implement the SwimSafe program in Da Nang, in central Vietnam.
In Da Nang, as in much of Vietnam, exposure to and interaction with water is a daily occurrence. This makes the fact that very few adults or children can swim all the more startling.
Since its launch in 2009, SwimSafe Da Nang has reached close to 10,000 children with survival swimming training. A further 5,000 are targeted in 2011.
In just twenty 45 minute lessons, SwimSafe Da Nang teaches children basic swimming, floating and rescue skills as well as water safety knowledge and CPR skills and knowledge. With 13 separate project sites, the bulk of the teaching is conducted at 10 portable above-ground pools. These pools are placed in 10 primary schools across the 7 districts of Da Nang city.
The 10 primary schools participating in the SwimSafe program in 2011 are:
- Be Van Dan – Thanh Khe district
- Nguyen Ngoc Hue – Thanh Khe district
- Nui Thanh – Hai Chau district
- Le Thanh Ton – Hai Chau district
- Ngo Gia Tu – Son Tra district
- Hoang Du Khuong – Cam Le district
- Phan Phu Tien – Lien Chieu district
- Tran Quang Dieu – Ngu Han Son district
- Hoa Tien – Hoa Vang district
- Hoa Khuong 2 – Hoa Vang district
SwimSafe Da Nang also utilizes an in-ground swimming pool at the city’s rehabilitation hospital as well as teaching in a natural water environment at two beaches is Son Tra and Thanh Khe districts. Teaching survival swimming in a beach venue is unique to the Da Nang component of the SwimSafe program and can prove challenging for both students and teachers. However, the beach program has proven to be a resounding success thanks in large part to the skill and dedication of the lifeguards responsible for survival swimming instruction on the beaches of Da Nang.
The SwimSafe Da Nang curriculum was developed in collaboration with RLSSA. Each year, RLSSA is also instrumental in assisting in the training and certification of 120 local primary school teachers and lifeguards in survival swimming teaching and CPR. Seven of this group have now been certified as instructor trainers and are a valuable community resource, essential to the sustainability of the program.
In bringing the world’s attention to the region where most child drownings occur, the SwimSafe program will feature at the World Conference on Drowning Prevention to be held in Da Nang in May 2011.
SwimSafe Da Nang is an AusAID supported initiative.